In Australia Ugg’s is a generic term for warm and comfy sheepskin footwear and are held in the same esteem as beer, cricket, vegemite and kangaroos.
This, unfortunately, is not a view held by Californian footwear company, Deckers Outdoor Corporation, who believe that the Ugg trademark was sold to them back in the 1990’s.
See the full background here at the New York Times
Deckers have stirred up a hornets nest, for sure.
The Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has put in a request that his Washington DC ambassador start talking to those who matter, in that fair city.
Not only that, Australian Senator Nick Xenophon flew to California this past week and launched a protest outside the Santa Barbara headquarters of the US footwear giant.
Xenophon was joined by Australian shoemaker Eddie Oygur, the target of Decker’s ire and of course a flock of sheep.
Channel 9 News Australia reports.
However, Mr Oygur will fight the action, contending that Deckers – which makes Ugg Australia boots in China – should not have the right to use the name.
“We’ve tried to tell the American public that Deckers have pulled the wool over their eyes,” Mr Oygur told the TODAY Show today.
Senator Xenophon said he stepped in when Mr Oygur asked for help.
“[Deckers] employ thousands of people globally. Their brand, Ugg Australia, makes Ugg boots in China and Vietnam, yet they are suing Eddie saying that you cannot sell Ugg boots anywhere else in the world because we own the trademark,” he said.
Mr Oygur believes he has a strong case in the David and Goliath battle, and has spent more than half a million dollars on it already.
“Our boots are better, they’re genuine Australian-made boots… probably I was a threat to them,” he said.
“It’s got Eddie over half a million dollars already… his mortgage, just about everything he has, that’s why we’ve set up a GoFundMe page to give him a hand before this goes to trial in the US early next year.